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How HyperSolar is Redefining CPV

The term “concentrated photovoltaics” (CPV) is confusing, even to many in the solar industry. And no wonder – the term is an umbrella one that includes widely varying technologies. To make matters worse, it is often confused with concentrated solar power (CSP) – or solar thermal – which is another animal altogether.

Then there’s HyperSolar’s breakthrough technology – although technically labeled a low-concentration photovoltaic technology (LCPV) – it bears little resemblance to other products in this space. The HyperSolar technology is so different, in fact, that we like to think of it as redefining CPV.

Because of the unique nature of the HyperSolar technology, we believe it has the potential to revolutionize the economics of solar, allowing solar not only to reach – but exceed – grid parity by transforming the way that solar energy is produced, improving efficiency and driving down costs.

But in order to understand HyperSolar, it is important to understand what it is not. First, it is not traditional solar.

That said, however, the HyperSolar technology is unique in the CPV space because – unlike other CPV technologies – it can be used with traditional solar: It requires no major module modifications. Thus it can be implemented on a large scale and at a low cost – the two primary requisites of a transformative technology.

The problem with traditional solar is the limited efficiency of silicon solar cells. The average conversion efficiency of the traditional silicon solar cell is only about 15 percent, which means that only a fraction of the sun’s energy is converted into energy. What’s more, the silicon cell appears to be reaching its theoretical limit of efficiency.

To get around this limitation, solar innovators have turned to CPV to concentrate the power of the sun, thus allowing the use of fewer expensive cells. But that’s where the similarity among CPV technologies ends.
High-concentration photovoltaics (HCPV) uses optical devices such as dish reflectors to magnify the power of the sun by 100 times or more (according to a definition by SolFocus, an HCPV leader). Because HCPV installations are essentially telescopes, their narrow acceptance angles mean that they “see” only a small part of the sky and thus require mechanical tracking devices to follow the path of the sun.

HCPV installations – which typically use high-performance, high-cost, multi-junction cells rather than silicon cells – have achieved outputs that are double that of traditional solar arrays, but their widespread deployment is limited by their bulk, their reliance on failure-prone tracking devices and the fact that they are only practical in high-solar resource regions due to their narrow acceptance angles.

A number of large and utility-scale HCPV installations have recently been built or are now under construction, which has led some industry analysts to predict a bright future for the role of HCPV in meeting the world’s energy needs. But others are skeptical that HCPV will ever be able to compete with traditional solar because of its expense and its geographical limitations.

A report on CPV recently issued by Greentech Media predicts, for example, that new utility-scale HCPV installations around the globe will grow from under 5 megawatts in 2010 to more than 1,000 megawatts by 2015. But that pales in comparison with the annual installation of traditional, non-concentrated photovoltaics, which was more than 13,000 megawatts in 2010 alone.

At the other end of the spectrum is LCPV, in which the magnification ratio is less than 10, according to the SolFocus definition. LCPV is typically employed with traditional silicon cells. Although LCPV has a broader range of applications than HCPV, it also produces less power. In addition, with the exception of very-low-concentration PV, LCPV also requires some form of tracking.

An example is the LCPV module now under development by California-based SunPower, the nation’s second-largest solar cell and module maker. According to industry analysts, SunPower’s Alpha-2 LCPV system uses mirror-module pairs (called “blades” by SunPower) mounted on single-axis trackers. The company has installed a version of its system at the Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Similarly, Solaria’s LCPV product is also designed for use with solar tracking systems, which adds to the initial expense as well as to the maintenance costs. Also – unlike HyperSolar’s technology, which can be used with the standard solar cells produced by the majority of cell manufacturers – the Solaria product uses its own solar cell technology, not industry-standard silicon cells.

To confuse matters even further, CSP – which is not a photovoltaic technology – uses mirrors or lenses to heat water in order to create steam, which ultimately drives a steam turbine that generates electricity.
So where does the HyperSolar technology fit in?
Although the HyperSolar technology is categorized as an LCPV technology, it really falls into its own niche for a number of reasons, including: 1) it uses micro-concentrators rather than bulky lenses or optical devices; 2) it requires no tracking devices; 3) it can be used in low-solar-resource regions; and 4) it can be used with the standard solar cells produced by the majority of cell manufacturers.

HyperSolar’s technology thus gives module makers the ability to compete with HCPV technologies in the efficiency game by reducing the amount of expensive silicon or other semiconductor material required to produce the same amount of electricity, but it does not require direct sunlight or modifications such as bulky optical elements and failure-prone tracking devices.

HyperSolar’s ability to concentrate the power of the sun is based on four key photonics innovations:
• Micro-concentrators – A matrix of small, highly efficient solar concentrators is used to collect sunlight throughout the day from a wide range of angles, thus eliminating the need for bulky tracking devices.
• Photonics light routing – A solid-state photonics network underneath the micro-concentrators transports light from collection points at the surface of the top sheet to concentrated output sites at the bottom.
• Photonics light separation – The photonics network increases efficiency by separating sunlight into spectrum ranges that are routed to solar cells using semiconductor materials that operate in narrow, highly efficient spectral bands.
• Photonics thermal management – The heat from the unused portions of the solar spectrum is filtered out, thus avoiding overheating, which can degrade the cell performance.

HyperSolar is now being developed for use with silicon cells. The technology takes the form of an acrylic top layer that has been demonstrated to increase the power output of a cell by 300 percent (although HyperSolar believes that 400 percent will eventually be achieved), which translates into 66 percent fewer expensive cells needed to convert the same amount of sunlight (see Figure 1). This increase in power output is accomplished by magnifying the sun 3x with the HyperSolar concentrator.

HyperSolar plans to license its technology, manufacturing processes and know-how to module manufacturers, thus reducing costs, product development time and time-to-market, while increasing flexibility and responsiveness. The beauty of the HyperSolar technology is that it will allow the traditional solar industry to scale up without any significant capital investment in new manufacturing protocols.

These differences are what account for HyperSolar’s far-reaching potential. HyperSolar believes its technology has the power to transform solar, making low-cost solar available to the world. In short, we believe HyperSolar is redefining CPV.

About the Author
Tim Young is president and CEO of HyperSolar, whose mission it is to make solar affordable for all. He has more than 15 years’ experience in marketing and management, bringing several new products to market. He holds a B.A. in communications from Pepperdine University.

Original Article on HyperSolar

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Why We Need “Disruptive” Solar Technologies

The United States reached its $14 trillion debt ceiling back on May 16th. While the wrangling is still underway in Congress on a deal to raise thelimit, the inescapable fact is that budgetary constraints are limitingfunding for energy innovation. Faced with this challenge, the nation has no choice — given the importance of energy to our security, prosperityand well being — but to be more selective about how we spend the limited funds we have available. Obama’s “Blueprint for a SecureEnergy Future” has put solar in the spotlight, which will attractadditional funds for innovation. But the plan needs to identifystrategies to promote the funding of what are called “disruptivetechnologies” — technologies that represent game-changing breakthroughs — as opposed to continuing to pour money into the accelerated deploymentof “sustained technologies,” or traditional technologies that may not be economically viable over the long term without government subsidies.

The goal of federal energy policies such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative is to make solar technologiescost-competitive with other forms of energy by reducing the cost ofsolar by about 75 percent before the year 2020 under the premise thatreducing the cost of solar to equal that of energy from traditionalsources (or 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt hour without subsidies) willresult in the rapid, large-scale adoption of solar. But it is my beliefthis goal will not be achieved through incremental improvements in solar cell efficiency; rather, it will be achieved by the development of adisruptive technology that will change the market for solar in anunexpected way. I believe the HyperSolar technology has the ability todramatically alter the market for solar in the same way that theintroduction of the Internet or the debut of the Ford Model T, whichmade low-cost automobiles available to the masses, dramatically alteredthe technology and automobile industries.   

 

The solar cell is inherently inefficient. The original solarcell, which was invented in 1883, had an energy-conversion efficiency of less than 1 percent, while the efficiency of the first viablephotovoltaic cell, Bell Labs’ “Solar Battery,” which was developed in1954, was about 6 percent. After nearly 130 years of research anddevelopment, the average energy conversion efficiency of the solar cellis now only about 15 percent, meaning that only a fraction of the sun’senergy is converted into electricity. Moreover, the silicon solar cellappears to be reaching its theoretical limit of efficiency. Because ofthis, large numbers of expensive solar cells have to be used in order to generate substantial amounts of electricity. While other types of cellmaterials are more efficient, they are even more expensive.

In order to become competitive with energy generated from traditional sources, solar has to become more efficient. Rather than focusing on incremental improvements in cell efficiency, HyperSolar isdeveloping a breakthrough technology that can be viewed as a“performance enhancer” for solar. The HyperSolar technology takes theform of an acrylic topsheet that, when applied to a solar panel, boostsperformance by 300 percent. As a result, the number of cells, the mostexpensive element of a panel, can be reduced by 66 percent, with acorresponding reduction in cost. HyperSolar believes that it willeventually achieve concentrations of 400 percent. Moreover, although the HyperSolar technology is now being developed for use with siliconcells, it can be used with any type of cell material: whatever a cell’sefficiency, HyperSolar will boost it.

The photovoltaics subprogram of the SunShot initiative focuses onnew devices and processes, prototype design and pilot production andsystems development and manufacturing. This is all good, but morefunding is needed for disruptive technologies. As President Obama hasnoted, because of the fundamentally unpredictable nature oftechnological progress, “None of us can predict with certainty what thenext new industry will be….” When it comes to trickle-down economics,the most efficient means of stimulating economic development is throughthe creation of a reservoir of funding for innovative technologies withthe potential to leapfrog over sustained technologies in terms ofenvironmental benefits, easy scalability and rapid payback. In short, we need technologies that will boost performance by 500 or 1,000 percent,not 1 or 2 percent.

Tim Young, CEO, Hypersolar

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Energy and Utility Sectors Starting to Embrace Solar

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The French energy giant Total recently announced a $1.37 billioninvestment in the California solar photovoltaic company SunPower. Totalis taking a majority stake of 60 percent in the nation’s second largestvertically integrated solar cell and panel maker. The investmentrepresents the biggest investment in the solar sector by aninternational energy company thus far.

Industry analysts have speculated that Total’s action is a response to worldwide
disenchantment with nuclear in the wake of the Fukushima/Daiichi disaster, whichraises more barriers for the already-economically challenged nuclearindustry. And indeed, Total isn’t the only energy company to be making a solar play. Recently, the New Jersey-based power producer, NRG Energy,announced that it would substantially boost the role of solar PV in itsgeneration mix after deciding to abandon further investment into two new nuclear power projects in Texas due to regulatory uncertainty stemmingfrom Fukushima Daiichi. NRG President and CEO David Crane said lastmonth that NRG is seeking “to become the largest owner and operator ofsolar generation in the United States in the near term.” In anotherexample, the French nuclear giant, AREVA, bought the U.S. solarconcentrated solar power (CSP) company, Ausra, last year.

Thenthere’s Germany, which plans to abandon its nuclear reactors by 2022 inresponse to Fukushima Daiichi. Germany plans to replace nuclear, whichsupplies approximately 23 percent of its power, with renewables, and inthe process solidify its position as a worldwide leader in the cleantechnology sector.

The embracement of solar by big energy andutilities (to say nothing of national governments) could be a simplerecognition of the value of diversification — as applicable to energyand utilities as to any other business sector. Total CEO Christophe deMargerie, is reported to have issued a mandate to diversity when he took over in 2007.

Then again, it could be that, seeing thehandwriting on the wall, big energy and utilities are buying into solaras a hedge against depleting oil reserves, high oil prices and theincreasing distrust of nuclear. In effect, they are taking a shortposition against their bread and butter — oil and nuclear.

Message to state and national policy-makers: if big energy is fleeing for theexits, why are we continuing to put our faith in them?

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Anticipating the Renewable Crossover

In a recent blog by Dana Blankenhorn in Renewable Energy World (https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2011/05/where-is-the-crossove r?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-June1-2011), the author drew the parallel between the Rapture and the crossover,which is the equivalent of the Rapture for those in the renewable energy space.

The crossover is the point where the cost of electricity fromsolar is lower than the cost of electricity from fossil fuels. Renewable Energy World stated that the importance of achieving this goal can’t be can’t be overestimated because once crossover is achieved, the cost ofsolar will keep falling. The big question is: when is this going tooccur?

Blankenhorn cited a Bloomberg interview in which Mark M.Little, the global research director for General Electric (GE), said hethinks we can reach crossover in three to five years (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-26/solar-may-be-cheaper-than-fossil-power-in-five-years-ge-says.html). He based his estimate on the price now charged for grid energy in Connecticut, where GE is based, Blankenhorn said.  The cost of grid energy in Connecticut is now 18.1 cents per kilowatt-hour, with Little estimating that homeowners will start switching to solarwhen the cost gets to 15 cents per kilowatt-hour or lower.

Blankenhorn noted, however, that the way to achieve crossoverisn’t just through technology, but through scaling. Companies such asGE, which will manufacture thin-film solar panels with an efficiency of12.8 percent at a plant it plans to open in 2013, can scale production.Installers such as California cell, panel and system provider SunPowerwill also be able to scale up as oil companies such as the French oiland gas giant Total buy into them, the blog said. Total’s successful bid for 60 percent of SunPower came at a 44 percent premium to its market price. The company is expected to complete the acquisition in 2013.

Although this was the first deal of its kind, Blankenhorn saidthe approach of crossover will bring more such deals as decisions arereached based on market economics rather than on subsidies that aresubject to the political vagaries of the moment.   

HyperSolar believes its breakthrough technology is the fast track to crossover. Rather than focusing on incremental improvements in cell efficiency, HyperSolar isdeveloping a technology that takes the form of an acrylic top sheetthat, when applied to a solar panel, boosts performance by 300 percent.As a result, the number of cells, the most expensive element in a panel, can be reduced by 66 percent, with a corresponding reduction in cost.HyperSolar believes it will eventually achieve concentrations of 400percent.

Although the HyperSolar technology is now being developed for usewith silicon cells, it can be used with any type of cell material:whatever a cell’s efficiency, HyperSolar will boost it. The use of theHyperSolar technology will allow solar to achieve the scale that willhelp it to reach crossover — and beyond.

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Nuclear Power in the Developing World

Does anyone remember the Bhopal disaster? One of the world’s worstindustrial catastrophes, the 1984 disaster in Bhopal, India — a leak oftoxic gases and chemicals from a pesticide plant — resulted in a deathtoll estimated at 3,787 (although others have put it much higher) andmore than half a million injuries. Although the accident was attributedto a collection of causes, conventional wisdom holds that, although such accidents can happen anywhere, developing countries such as India areparticularly vulnerable because they lack the environmental, regulatoryand educational safeguards and infrastructure to prevent them.

I bring up Bhopal because of the recent recommendation — in the wakeof the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster — that Germany close allnuclear power plants by 2021 and rely on other forms of energy. Therecommendation was made by a committee appointed by Chancellor AngelaMerkel. Merkel has vowed to end Germany’s reliance on nuclear, whichprovides 22.6 percent of its electricity. Germany’s rejection of nuclear is being imitated by other European countries, including Italy andSwitzerland, while the United States, which has 104 operating reactors,is reevaluating its nuclear policy. While the West, however, is movingaway from nuclear (if only incrementally in many nations), thedeveloping world, especially India and China, is embracing it withwide-open arms.

While developed countries are not immune to nuclear catastrophe, asthe accidents at Three Mile Island and Fukushima Daiichi havedemonstrated, the rapid implementation of nuclear in the developingworld points to an increased vulnerability to the populations of thosecountries to nuclear disaster — what might be termed the “Bhopaleffect.” Indeed, if Germany’s announcement is any indication, one canpicture an increasing marginalization of nuclear, in which it is widelyadopted by poor, power-hungry nations, but spurned by wealthy countrieswith the resources to develop clean, renewable sources of energy.Indeed, Germany perceives its pursuit of clean energy as an opportunityto spur growth and position it as a leader in sustainable technologies.

If India, China and other developing nations with less-than-stellarsafety records on other issues follow through with their ambitiousnuclear plans (China, for instance, plans to get most of its power fromnuclear by the middle of the century), the possibility exists thatnuclear accidents will turn vast areas of these countries into nuclearwastelands, to say nothing of the casualties such accidents wouldproduce. But there is another scenario: the possibility that developingcountries will embrace sustainable technologies with the same fervor astheir western counterparts. Both India and China have launched renewable energy initiatives; the question is which path will take precedence asthey take their places at the forefront of the world’s economies. 

While renewable technologies are not yet efficient enough to take aprimary role in powering of any of the world’s economies, HyperSolarbelieves its breakthrough technology holds the potential to make solarcost-competitive with energy from traditional sources, includingnuclear. Indeed, we believe that the HyperSolar technology, which takesthe form of an acrylic topsheet that boosts the output of a solar cellby 300 percent or more, can transform the world by providing power thatis considerably cheaper than power from traditional sources. Moreover,unlike nuclear, solar is capable of supplying power to remote areaswhere no electric infrastructure exists. India, for instance, is said to have more than 69,000 villages that have no electricity.

Thought leader Malcolm Gladwell makes the point in an articlein a recent issue of the New Yorker that innovators aren’t necessarilythose with a new idea, but those with a new take on an oldidea. The HyperSolar technology is just such an innovation: a new takeon the old idea of solar, which has been around since 1883. We hope itis one that will prompt developing countries to take the renewableenergy — rather than the nuclear — path on their journey to economicdominance.

Tim Young – CEO, HyperSolar, Inc.

Original Article on HyperSolar

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CPV: Magnifying the Future of Solar

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We’ve all heard of the kid who zaps ants under a magnifyingglass. The image strikes us for the cruelty, but also, for theundeniable power of combining the sun and optics.

Take the nastiness out of the picture, and it could alsorepresent the future of solar electricity, as companies advancetechniques for focusing and intensifying sunlight onto a solar cell. The technology goes by the name concentrated photovoltaics, and, of course, it comes with an acronym: CPV.

Not to be confused with the eponymous “concentrated solarthermal” electricity, in which the sun heats a piped liquid thatultimately drives a turbine, CPV works directly on solar cells, noturbine necessary. Unlike the solar cells in your rooftop panels, whichtake whatever light they can from whatever the sun casts their way, CPVintensifies that light with a lens or mirror before it hits the cell.Magnification can hit a staggering factor of 1,200 times, such as with a system under development at Tuscon, Ariz.-based REhnu, where thecompany’s fancy gear has melted a hole in steel.

One of CPVs great promises is that it slashes the number ofsolar cells in a panel, since each cell produces a lot more electricitythan a solar cell that doesn’t benefit from focused light. CPV cantherefore reduce the land and real estate required for utility scaleprojects. Leading commercial vendors include California’s Amonix Inc.and SolFocus Inc., as well as France’s Soitec Group, through itsacquisition of Germany’s Concentrix Solar GmbH.

CPV is not new, but for several reasons it has failed to gain much market share. That could now be changing.

According to a report released this week by Greentech Media(GTM), “After decades of R&D, the concentrating photovoltaics (CPV)industry is finally breaking into the utility-scale solar market. GTMResearch forecasts new CPV installations to grow from under 5 MW in 2010 to more than 1,000 MW globally by 2015.”

Okay, 1,000 megawatts is still miniscule. That’s a gigawatt,which is the normal size of a single nuclear power station. It’s barelyan ant, if you will, on the global energy scene. Even in the world ofsolar power, it’s, er, a small fry. “The figures still pale incomparison to the annual installation of traditional non-concentratingPV, which was over 13,000 (megawatts, or 13 gigawatts) 2010 alone,”states GTM’s report, Concentrating Photovoltaics 2011: Technology, Costs and Markets.

What GTM likes about CPV is that, according to report co-author Brett Prior, it is low-cost compared to other forms of solar. “The keydriver enabling CPV to win projects in high solar resource locations isCPV’s ability to provide developers with superior economics, as CPV has a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) versus the non-concentrating PValternatives,” the report notes. Prior says the LCOE is around $0.12 per kilowatt-hour.

That might surprise CPV detractors, who say CPV costs are thebubble under the carpet- push it down on one end and it pops up on theother. CPV may cut the number of solar cells, but the cost of mirrors,lenses and other contraptions that help intensify and track the sun canmore than offset those savings.

On top of that, high-magnification CPV manufacturers typicallydeploy costly non-standard solar cells, called “triple junction” gallium arsenide cells. Triple junctions are used in space on satellite-mounted solar panels, but they can exceed earthly budgets.

GTM likes the chances that the cost of triple junction cellswill decline. “The forecast is predicated upon CPV companiessuccessfully achieving their cost reduction roadmaps, and bringing theinstalled cost of a CPV system down by more than 30 percent over thenext four years,” the report states. “Where will that price reductioncome from? One place will be from the solar cell suppliers like SolarJunction, Cyrium, Semprius, Soitec, and JDSU that have made advances inthe triple-junction cell that lies at the heart of the CPV system.”

One factor holding back CPV, notes Prior, is that thetechnology is unproven, which in turn makes it difficult to finance andinsure CPV projects.

“You need bankers and equity guys to put money in, but theydon’t want to if they’re worried it’s going to break down,” Prior toldme when I spoke with him earlier this year. Power providers who use CPVequipment will almost certainly insist that CPV vendors buy warrantyinsurance to cover against breakdown. In a possible turning point lastOctober, German insurance giant Munich Re last October backed SolFocus.

One of the beauties of CPV, but equally, one factor thatrattles financiers, is that there are no real standards. Every system is different. REhnu’s 1200-times technology uses large reflectors, fancyball lenses and optics inspired by founder Roger Angel, a University ofArizona professor of astronomy and optical science who is now applyinghis prize-winning work on telescopes towards CPV. Low andmedium-magnification systems, such as those from Santa Barbara,Calif.-based HyperSolar Inc., Fremont, Calif-based Solaria Corp., andMountain View-based Skyline Solar, use conventional crystalline solarcells rather than triple junction chips – but each applies differenttechniques.

As positive sign, GTM notes that utility scale projects arestating to take hold. In March, Soitec won a 150-megawatt deploymentfrom energy company Tenaska Solar Ventures, to provide electricity toSan Diego Gas & Electric. Amonix is deploying a 30-megawatt plantnear Alamosa Colorado, for power generation company Cogentrix EnergyLLC, contracted to the Public Service Company of Colorado.

It sounds like the story of concentrated photovoltaics will mirror the technology itself, and magnify in the coming years.

Photo: REhnu

Author’s note: Watch for my upcoming blog on University of Arizona professor Roger Angel,the founder of REhnu who’s swapping his prize-winning career inastrophysics for a fresh start in renewable energy.

By Mark Halper

Original Article on HyperSolar 

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Why Stop At Grid Parity?

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The Obama administration’s energy policy, and, in particular, theU.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, focuses on achievinggrid parity for solar. The goal is to reduce the cost of large-scalesolar to a dollar per watt, which roughly corresponds to 6 cents perkilowatt-hour, which is the cost of electricity from traditional energysources, by the end of the decade. The premise is that the achievementof grid parity will result in the rapid, large-scale adoption of solar.

In fact, utility-scale unsubsidized solar is already competitive with electricity generated from traditional sources in California andNevada. Although it will take longer to achieve grid parity in marketsacross the country, the question I would pose is, “Why stop at gridparity?” The widespread availability of a low-cost source of electricity that is beyond the control of corporations, governments, despots,lobbyists and politicians holds the promise of transforming the world.

While the solar industry is now focused on achieving grid parity inthe West, low-cost solar promises a far greater impact where there is no electricity infrastructure, just as cell phone technology helpedconnect rural populations with no access to land lines. And, just as the cell phone has boosted economies in the developing world by providingaccess to banking, education and health care, low-cost solar also holdsthe promise of helping to lift the world out of poverty.

Nearly half the undeveloped world has no access to electricity. Theavailability of low-cost solar would eliminate ecologically degradingpractices, such as using kerosene for lighting and firewood and charcoal — the main source of energy for roughly half the world’s population —for cooking and heating. It would also provide access to tools,including cell phones, power tools, machinery and computers, that foster economic development.

 

In fact, Microsoft chairman and innovator Bill Gates, in an addressentitled “Bill Gates On Energy: Innovating to Zero,” said that low-cost, clean energy is more important to developing nations than to anyoneelse because of the advancements that are powered by electricity, butalso because the consequences of the failure to bring a halt to globalwarming — in the form of starvation, uncertainty and unrest — willstrike poor populations the hardest.  (https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates.html)  

Indeed, the impact of low-cost solar on the developing world would be so profound that it is difficult to fathom. Already, populations inthese areas are using solar to charge solar lanterns — as well as thoseubiquitous cell phones — via stand-alone 50-watt panels. Although theaccess even to this limited amount of power is considered a giant stepforward, imagine if these populations were able to use community solarsystems to meet more extensive power needs.

The access to electric power has been a traditional route out ofpoverty. Most of the developing world is located in high sunshineregions that are ideally suited to solar. With low-cost solar, thepopulations of these areas will be able to tap into an abundant sourceof clean, renewable energy in order to lead more prosperous, healthy and comfortable lives, thus progressing in giant steps rather than in theincrements that have characterized progress in the West. 

So far, the attention of the solar industry has been focused on thedemand in western countries, rather than on the developing world. Thatis bound to change — a huge potential market will not be overlooked forlong.

But first we have to come to consider grid parity as a milestone along the way, rather than the end-goal.

Tim Young, CEO HyperSolar

Original Article on HyperSolar

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Secretary Chu Could Take A Fund Raising Lesson From the “Real Housewives of Wall Street”

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Tim Young, CEO HyperSolar

ARPA-E is unleashing American innovation to strengthenAmerica’s global competitiveness and win the clean energy race,” saidSecretary Chu last week as he announced a $130 million from the congressional budget to save this agency from going by the wayside. 

https://in.reuters.com/article/2011/04/20/us-usa-doe-arpa-e-idINTRE73J5O320110420

ARPA-E was created by the DOE in 2007 to invest inprojects considered too risky for the private sector than can solve ournation’s energy crisis.

I applaud Secretary Chu and his department’s lobbyingefforts within the System to secure and save this funding, despite howlittle some of us might think this amount to be for such an importantendeavor of reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. 

Just to give the amount of $130 million for 2011 some perspective, we spend $1 billion a day on foreign oil, making up 80% of our national trade deficit. Justimagine the positive economic impact of innovating our way off of thatreliance.

However, what really made this number of $133 millionseem really sad to me was when I read in this months issue of RollingStone that Christy Mack, the wife of Wall Street Executive John Mack(CEO of Morgan Stanley) was given $223 million in un-secured funding from our government back in June 2009 to buy commercial loans from Credit Suisse.   Yes that’s right.  A woman and a girlfriend with almost no business experience were handednearly a quarter of a billion dollars in risk-free money funded byAmerican tax payers.  

Read the story here:

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-real-housewives-of-wall-street-look-whos-cashing-in-on-the-bailout-20110411

We will have to leave it to free-enterprise and the privatesector to drive the innovation that will lead us to a brighterenvironmental and economic future.

Original Article on HyperSolar

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